Today's Guest Post is by Dan McCarthy, Event Manager at Ultimate Experience
Okay, so you have an event coming up, and you need to promote it. If social media is the first platform that comes to mind, then you're on the right track. Obviously, social networks shouldn't be your only promotional avenue, though they definitely need to be at the forefront.
When using social media, you need to think beyond Facebook and 140 character tweets. Yes, those will be a part of it, but there are other tools at your disposal that you need to incorporate for maximum exposure.
1. Create an Event Page
The event page is the cornerstone of all promotional activity. While most companies do create an event page, they don't have all the right elements in place. Here is what every Facebook event page should have:
- A Compelling Description: Using as few words as possible, describe the event, time, place, ticket price, and why guests should attend. You can include a link with "see more" as the anchor text where you add more lengthy and detailed information in a separate page. For the event home page, though, keep it short and simple.
- An Eye-Catching Photo: The photo should not be more than 714 x 264 pixels. This allows the entire photo to fit. The event?s flyer is a good image to use. Just be sure to modify it so it fits within the allotted pixels.
- A Map of the Venue Location: This is very important because Facebook will automatically recommend the event to friends and friends of attendees in the area if you add a map.
2. Promote on YouTube
People often forget that YouTube is a social network. There's the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, videos are worth even more. Upload videos with a link in the description to the event page. So what kind of videos can you add?
Consider the following:
- Video testimonials for last year's event
- Snippets of pre-event preparation with a voiceover
- A welcoming speech from the head of the company
- An overview of what guests can expect (lectures, workshops, etc.)
- An overview of the event explained via whiteboard animation
You can also consider adding clickable annotations that appear on the screen. This gives viewers options to view other promotional material.
3. Get Your Sponsors Involved
Your corporate sponsors likely have a social media following of their own. Ask your sponsors to reach out to their own consumers. Since your company and your sponsor should share the same demographic audience, request additional outreach from the company that's sponsoring your event.
Remember, a successful event for you is a successful event for your sponsors since it means more brand exposure for them. Send out a request for them to direct their social media followers to your event page. If you have already offered any type of special deals or exclusive discounts to your own followers, extend those to your sponsor's followers as well.
4. Create Engagement-Worthy Content
However you promote your event, the content has to be engaging and stand out in some way. Your consumers are busy people, and they likely have other events and social gatherings to consider as well. What makes your event worthy of their time? If the content doesn't stand out, then it's not going to receive a whole lot of attention.
So what constitutes engagement-worthy content? For starters, marketing material should be interactive. One good way to do this is through some type of contest. In its most simplistic form, this can be a straightforward quiz or multiple choice questionnaires regarding industry-related content.
Here's another idea: have participants take a selfie and photoshop the picture. This can include captions, speech bubbles, adding other people or objects into the pic, etc. You will provide your official event logo that must be included somewhere in each photo. When all the submissions are in, there will be two winners. One will be whichever photoshopped selfie got the most shares, and the other will be decided by you and your staff for most creativity. The winners will receive a prize, such as a free ticket or upgrade to VIP status.
A social media contest like the one described works well because it's out-of-the-box. Plus, by making it a requirement to include the event logo, you get free exposure.
5. Don't Forget LinkedIn
Your company LinkedIn account is where you find targeted audience. The best way to find a demographic audience beyond those already following you is to join multiple LinkedIn groups related to your industry. What you don't want to do, though, is to join a group and begin promoting your event right away. It will become blatantly obvious what your ulterior motives are. Join a group and spend several weeks just chatting with the people, offering your advice and expertise on subject matters where you can. Once you become a familiar face and a trustworthy source for niche-specific guidance, then that is when you should begin mentioning your event with a link to your Facebook event page.
6. Create an Event Hashtag
Many companies create event-specific hashtags that just don't generate a whole lot of buzz. For best results, make a hashtag that is clear even to those outside your industry. A hashtag like #PGNYConference2015 is a poor choice because it's too ambiguous. An outsider who sees it will know it has something to do with a conference but little else. A hashtag like #PetGroomConferenceNY2015, on the other hand, is a whole lot clearer and decipherable even at first glance.
Also try to keep the hashtag as short as possible without sacrificing decipherability. The same example above can be shortened to #PetGroomConferenceNY. It leaves out the year, which doesn't really add a whole lot of extra information anyways. How else can it be shortened? How about #PetGroomConfNY, or #PetGroomExpoNY?
7. Use an Event App
Event apps can be customized to your specific event. How might you incorporate this into social media? One way is to include reminders at regular intervals to send a selfie or tweet to your friends about what a good time you're having with the event hashtag included.
If you have a Twitter wall, the event app can direct guests to the wall with a message encouraging them to contribute with a post of their own. The app should also connect directly to social media features and have an integrated dashboard that allows users to comment through various social networks from a single location.
Use Every Social Media Tool at Your Disposal
There is so much exposure to be gained from social media alone. Best of all, most social network tools are free. Yes, most of them have a learning curve, but they reap huge rewards if you take the time to learn to use them right.
About Dan McCarthy
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.